Friday, May 22, 2009

Hershey Takes Game 3 From Providence

Hershey Overtakes Providence, Leads Series 2-1
May 22, 2009
by T. Chace Jr.

The Hershey Bears had every reason to believe it was not going to be their night. Down three goals after 23 minutes, it would seem that the Bears had reason to worry. "The Dunk" was rockin' and the Bruins were flying, and then things began to change.

Only 1:56 into period one, Zach Hamill scored his first playoff goal on a steal in the Hershey end. The first period of hockey was one of the best played periods I've seen all year. Tremendous intensity, heavy hitting, and momentum swings throughout the period. At 15:32, Bruin rookie defenseman Jeff Penner, who has steadily improved all year, scored his fourth goal of the playoffs on the power play with assists to Martin St. Pierre and Vladimir Sobotka to make it 2-0. Providence only outshot Hershey 11-9, yet seemed to carry the play for the most part.

Peter Schaefer scored for Providence at the 3:01 mark of the second period on another power play opportunity, while Bears d-man Bryan Helmer sat for roughing. Assists to Penner and Mikko Lehtonen on the 2nd playoff goal for Schaefer, now making it 3-0. Hershey finally responded with their first goal of the night only :25 seconds later, to make the score 3-1. League MVP Alexandre Giroux netted his 7th goal of the playoffs and 2nd against Providence with a helper to former Bruin Keith Aucoin. Hershey answered the bell again at 9:05 with a Chris Bourque tally with assists to Jay Beagle and Patrick McNeill to close the gap to 3-2. The Bears outplayed the Bruins in the second period and now enjoyed an emotional edge heading into the third period.

That edge was short lived, however, when Jeff Penner scored his second goal of the game just :38 seconds into period three on another power play goal with assists to Johnny Boychuk and St. Pierre. That made the score 4-2 for the Bruins and momentum back on the Providence side. About five minutes later though, the whole game turned. Andrew Gordon scored for Hershey at 5:32 to make it 4-3. Giroux netted his second goal of the night at 6:52 to tie the score at 4-4. As the young Bruins held their sticks a little tighter, the scoring continued for Hershey. Graham Mink, who threw his weight around all night, tipped in his 4th playoff goal at 13:58, for a 5-4 lead for Hershey. Helmer got back a power play goal himself at 18:25 to stake the lead to 6-4. That score was the final.

Hershey scored four unanswered goals in the third period and now hold a 2-1 series lead in the best of seven series. Final shots on net favored the Bears 32-28. Providence was three of four on the power play, while Hershey went one for four on their chances. The three stars of the game were Giroux, Penner, and Helmer. Game 4 is on Sunday night in Providence and Game 5 is on Monday afternoon, Memorial Day, at 4:00 PM EST in Providence as well.

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